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  1. #1

    Cattle/pasture plan- critique please

    Getting things squared away slowly to be ready for adding some cattle soon.

    I have roughly 20 acres that I'm in the process of cross fencing so as to have 3 or 4 rotations, each roughly equivalent.

    Water is accessible via a pond from all rotations and I plan on having some troughs further uphill also. The pond is pretty much centered in the pasture so almost no spot on the pasture is more than about 800 feet from the pond if need be.

    Pasture grass seems to be mainly bahia and other native grasses. We seem to have good growth most years into November. Plenty of spots of shade here and there. There is also pecan trees in this pasture. Water pipe/valves have been caged via bent cattle panels attached to 4x4's.

    All fencing is 4' standard farm/field fence.

    I'm thinking of starting with 4 or 6 cows to begin with. Goal initially is just to figure out stocking rates for my area, what works and what doesn't, etc. Ideally will get a freezer full of meat out of it and if I get to where selling a few pays the prop tax bill, then super.

    I don't necessarily want to mess with AI. What should be my thoughts for looking to purchase cattle?

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  2. #2
    AI is definitely a hassle. Even with just a few, you will need a small stock trailer.
    Cheapest and most work is to start with bottle calves. Bred heifers next cheapest. Beware of buying at a sale barn, as you are often buying other people's problem cows. What breeds are most common in your area?
    IMO, you can't go wrong with black baldies.

  3. #3
    CAPSTONE MEMBER 610Alpha's Avatar
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    Awesome! I can't recommend Greg Judy's books enough. In the hotter climates color matters...if the cattle are too hot they are going to be laying in the shade instead of eating.

    "No Risk Ranching" and "Comeback Farms" have a lot info on how he does pasture beef (i have read both of his books and they got a ton of info).
    Joel Salatin - "Salad Bar Beef" - I haven't read this book of Salatin but he's been doing pastured everything for decades.

    Greg Judy might be able to recommend someone down in your area to talk to, heck send him a message on facebook and you can probably give him a call, he is in Missouri.

    Greg got some of his cattle from Alabama. http://www.southpoll.com
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  4. #4
    Was watching a cattle auction that was streamed on the net just now.

    Calves about 500 lbs. going for $50-80.? That doesn't sound correct? Do they auction it in per hundred lb. increments or something?

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  5. #5
    CAPSTONE MEMBER 610Alpha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowdown3 View Post
    Was watching a cattle auction that was streamed on the net just now.

    Calves about 500 lbs. going for $50-80.? That doesn't sound correct? Do they auction it in per hundred lb. increments or something?
    Yes per hundred pound. $250-$400
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  6. #6
    Figured it had to be that.

    I've noticed every auction that I've ever been at had it's own "feel" to it. You did the best when you figured that out quickly and assimilated to how that worked.

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  7. #7
    And why do some calves seem to go for $115-135. per CWT in the 200-400 lb. range and then some 600-800 cows seem to go for $80-90. per CWT?

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  8. #8
    So far so good on this. Some pics-

    Getting them used to coming back to a central area every day where another water source is, where mineral block and protein tubs are. They have responded well to leading them by walking ahead of them and doing the "come cow" call.

    We have been feeding a little grains in bunker feeders to get them coming and assist in working with them. We are already starting to wean them off of it. They do love the little "range cubes" aka cattle cubes". They have finally began touching us from working slowly and quietly with them and the cattle cubes.

    Here is some rice and pinto beans in a bunker feeder-

    IMG_0227.jpg

    Yes, they will eat storage rice, corn, pinto beans, wheat. They have helped me rotate the last of our pre-98 grains. Very small amounts daily.

    The cows are working fine around pecan trees and other trees. May have a few losses from some smaller, weaker trees but that's acceptable. They also have pruned some lower limbs here and there which I'm o.k. with. Lots of manure right where the trees can use it as well.

    IMG_0197.jpg


    Even a pad of outside hay can be used as a treat at times.

    IMG_0225.jpg

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  9. #9
    I will say this, I've realized they are very intelligent animals. They can sense little changes in people and their environment. As a "prey" animal this is a good trait.

    Gnat season started here recently. I usually tie a t shirt over my head covering my ears during this to keep the gnats from flying inside my ears. If you've never experienced gnats this sounds nutty but they will fly up your nose, in your mouth, ears, etc. I went out to the girls one afternoon with the t shirt tied on my head. They all starred and their body language said flight was coming. I'm talking to them calmly, it's having little effect. I took the shirt off and they acted like "oh yeah, I know that guy" and calmed down.

    My biggest criteria for future purchases will continue to be finding calm animals. I tried several local sources to buy cattle from, including one guy not a mile from the location. After telling me "yeah we sell calves" and my replying that "can I get your number and come by in a few weeks and buy some from you", I was later told by the same guy a month later "oh we sell them over at the auction." I overcame every objection with the guy, including saying "just name your price" with the guy as well as "well, you will have to pay a % selling at the auction and then get a check right? Name your price and I'll give you cash right here." So the dumbA got less money AFTER hauling his cattle and making a 100 mile round trip.

    Reason I tell that story is that people always think you can make side deals with these farmers, ranchers, etc. Evidently this one was too stupid to figure out a better deal. His wife was there, she got it and kept giving him 'the nod'. All I lost was time in the deal, having to wait a bit longer than to buy but some serious frustration with dealing with a dumbA.

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  10. #10
    Water access points-

    "Scuba Steve" and half the crew this morning were on the other side of the fence. After getting them back in we investigated the problem.

    A water access point had cattle panels attached to T posts put WAAAY out in the water a few months ago. Water level dropped and we added another panel not that long ago. Well "Scuba Steve" and two other heifers evidently managed to get around the panels and came up on the shore the other side of the fence. We added another cattle panel out another 15 feet to where the water was up to my nose 5 feet in from the end of the panel. We will have to check it again later in the summer.

    Cattle panels and T posts- always nice to have a few extras laying around for fence breaks and quick repairs.

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